April 23, 2015, by Rachel Bainbridge
What have I let myself in for?
Packing up your bags and moving abroad for a year to a foreign country is an extremely exhilarating prospect which I had been looking forward to since the beginning of my university life. Yet when my flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina was being called to board, I seriously questioned myself why I had been so adamant to move so far way, all alone. However, this soon turned into adrenaline and for most of my fourteen hour plane journey I fidgeted in my seat with anticipation.
My first impressions of my new home were of excitement and adventure. This feeling was set in stone immediately by the clear blue skies and warm temperature that welcomed me; a huge contrast to the typically grim British weather that I had been so eager to leave behind. However, unlike England, I was quickly introduced to the extremely unorganized, slow and at that point slightly frustrating Argentinian way of life, as I queued almost two hours just to exit the airport. As someone who is lacking in patience, this was something that would take some time to get used to.
Nonetheless, throughout the first few days my impressions of this alien country only seemed to flourish as I found my feet in my new home. I found myself thinking, is it like London? Barcelona? New York? But none of these places seemed to do Buenos Aires – or “BA” justice. For me, I arrived with few pre-made illusions of what would be walking into, but I soon discovered that Buenos Aires is a unique city that I couldn’t wait to be let loose in.
I quickly experienced that the friendliness and camaraderie of the locals is next to none. Every morning I receive (and return) a continuous string of ‘buen día’s from everyone I pass. And with the local tradition of greeting and saying goodbye to each other with a kiss on the cheek, it requires dedicating a good five to ten minutes to make it around the office before I sit myself down at my desk. No, I do not think it is a burden, but in fact, it is these simple things that have made me feel at ease so quickly here.
Perhaps the biggest culture shock that I hadn’t considered beforehand, was that my body clock would be in for a serious change. I don’t mean the time difference, but what I am referring to, is the nocturnal lifestyle of the Argentines. With meal times beginning at late as 11pm and the city staying awake until the early hours of the morning, I question how I will ever adapt. Watch this space!
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